New York Times, "May A Negro Go To College?," February 10, 1859

    Source citation
    “May A Negro Go To College?,” New York Times, February 10, 1859, p. 4: 5.
    Newspaper: Publication
    New York Times
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    May A Negro Go To College?
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    Newspaper: Column
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    Meghan Allen, Dickinson College
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    The following text is presented here in complete form, as it originally appeared in print. Spelling and other typographical errors have been preserved as in the original.

    MAY A NEGRO GO TO COLLEGE? This question was decided in the negative, a few days ago, at Schenectady. A young man of somber complexion presented himself for admission as a student of Union College. His color was in fact so shadowy that it was thought he must be a mulatto, or at the very least a quadroon. This being taken for granted, the practical inquiry arose as to his admission. The authorities of the Institution did not choose to decide it, though it would seem to be their province so to do. Considering, probably, that the students—who must become in some sense the associated of the dark individual—were deeply interested, the faculty referred the matter to the taste and judgment of the young gentlemen. A vote being taken, the result was the colored man’s exclusion.

    This was at the North, in the Free State of New-York. The community where it occurred no doubt hold stock in the under-ground railroad. They would lend their sympathy; if not more active aid, in thwarting the odious Fugitive Slave law. But they would not suffer a man of negro blood to study in Union College. We refer to the case as a curious illustration of the relations between the white and the blacks in the Free States. The course pursued towards the man in question, whose desire it was to fit himself for usefulness by means of public institution of learning, shows how much easier it is to utter sentiment in behalf of black “men and brothers” than to extend practical sympathy. We neither judge nor censure the people of Union College. They but participate in a pervading sentiment or prejudice. Many others have their full share of that feeling whose professions might lead to contrary conclusions. It is proper to say that the applicant referred to was eventually admitted, the vote of exclusion being reconsidered and rescinded upon proof that he was a half-breed Indian, without a particle of African blood in her veins.

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